Published in Transportation

General Motors' wireless battery management looks interesting

by on11 September 2020

End of orange wires everywhere

IEEE Spectrum has been looking under the bonnet of  General Motors' wireless battery management system.

GM is touting the system as a first in any EV and was created with Analog Devices. It will be standard on a full range of GM EVs, with the company aiming for at least one million global sales by mid-decade.

Those vehicles will be powered by GM's proprietary Ultium batteries, produced at a new US $2.3 billion plant in Ohio, in partnership with South Korea's LG Chem.

Unlike today's battery modules, which link up to an on-board management system through a tangle of orange wiring, GM's system features RF antennas integrated on circuit boards. The antennas allow the transfer of data via a 2.4-gigahertz wireless protocol.

Slave modules report back to an onboard master, sending measurements of cell voltages and other data. That onboard master can talk through the cloud to GM.

GM can essentially plug-and-play battery modules for a vast range of EVs, including heavy-duty trucks and sleek performance cars, without having to redesign wiring harnesses or communications systems for each.

GM claims it had driven the cost of Ultium batteries below the $100 per kilowatt-hour mark and vowed that it will turn a profit on every Ultium-powered car it makes. The system features end-to-end encryption and the software and battery nodes can be reprogrammed over the air.


Last modified on 11 September 2020
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